GODFREY, Ill. – Little Knights Inc. has been selected as the June 2022 RiverBend Growth Association Small Business of the Month award recipient.
Located at 1100 Airport Road in Godfrey, at the Godfrey United Methodist Church and just behind Walmart, the state-licensed child care facility is led by Shannon Knight. She serves as its president and director.
Operating at its current location for nine years now, since May 2013, Knight had first opened the child care service in her home in 2010. A much-needed expansion due to the increasing need in the community moved the facility to where it is today.
“While Little Knights is no longer in my home, it still has that safe, welcoming, and comfortable in-home feel,” Knight said. “I absolutely love running the day care. It is one big extended family. And we keep our class sizes small, so every child gets the attention they need and deserve.”
Little Knights serves children from 6 weeks to 12 years old, and with a current staff of 12. They have five classrooms and are licensed for up to 50 children. “Most of the Little Knights staff have been with us for over five years, and most of the children we care for here start as infants and stay until school age,” said Knight.
The infant room, or Squires Room, cares for children ranging from 6 weeks to 15 months old. The Explorers Room cares for kids from 15 months to 2 ½ years old. Children from 2 ½ to 3 ½ years old are cared for in the Crusaders Room, and from ages 3 ½ to 6 years old as part of the Jr. Apprentice program. The oldest age group, from 6 to 12 years old, learns and grows through the activities provided as a part of the Knights program.
At Little Knights, the mission is to provide a stimulating environment for children with consideration for the needs of working parents. The facility staff takes immense pride in the focused attention they can give each child individually while continuing to provide safe, quality, and reliable child care services to families.
“Little Knights offers the opportunity for children to develop physically, socially, and cognitively, according to their individual learning styles. Our center considers each child unique, and adjusts to their temperament and rate of development,” their website notes.
“COVID has challenged us,” Knight shared. “But, thanks to awesome parents and staff, we have been able to navigate those challenges. By keeping open communication with our parents, we have always found ways to still support their children in a safe setting.”
The average waitlist time for admission at Little Knights is about 15 months. “This is because our class sizes are small and we have a very low turnover rate,” Knight explained. “Most of our children stay in the program from Infant to Preschool. And when a family adds another child to their home, those children get added to the top of the wait list so that we can keep the family together at the same day care center.”
Each classroom has at least one lead teacher who has completed a degree in Early Childhood, and all staff must maintain up-to-date training in CPR and First Aid. “Every employee completes at least 15 hours of learning each year. We also have monthly learning activities from a local nurse. And for staff looking to obtain or add to their degree, we offer scholarship opportunities where they can get their schooling covered up to 100 percent,” Knight said.
And as the center’s president and director, Knight has a master’s degree in Early Childhood and is also car seat certified. “All of this is to make sure we can help each family with all their child’s needs, no matter if they are an infant, toddler, preschooler, or school age,” Knight noted.
“Finding staff that really enjoy working with children has been harder than originally thought,” she added. “We want to make sure all the staff here are enthusiastic and caring. So, we are always looking for more enthusiastic and caring teachers and assistants.”
Little Knights actively partners with area high schools and colleges to provide opportunities for those considering Early Childhood as a career path.
The center also enjoys being an active member of its community. Little Knights sponsors soccer, T-ball, and baseball teams through the Godfrey Parks and Recreation Department. Their preschool program partners with SIUE gardeners to help plan and learn about flowers at nearby Homer Adams Park. And their school-age children enjoy activities with the residents at Cedarhurst of Godfrey and San Gabriel Memory Care, including special holiday activities.
To learn more about Little Knights Inc., visit online at www.knightsdaycare.com or call (618) 208-0426. They are open Monday through Friday from 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Appointments are required for visits and tours.
The RiverBend Growth Association is the Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development organization for the 11 communities known as the Riverbend. For more information about the Growth Association, please visit www.growthassociation.com or call (618) 467-2280.
RBGA’s Small Business of the Month Committee recognizes a different member business each month for its outstanding efforts and leadership in the community. Committee members include Brenda Eardley, Adrianna Lock, Kristen Ryrie, Leslie Schobernd, Martha Schultz, and Amy Smith.
To learn more about membership in the RiverBend Growth Association and the Small Business of the Month recognition, visit the RBGA website or call their Godfrey office.
This article was prepared for the RiverBend Growth Association by Melissa Meske Publications, macmeske.com.